All the Light in the Sky

Local indie Joe Swanberg teams up with the delectably flaky Jane Adams (Happiness) for this semi-improvised snapshot of a Hollywood actress as she hangs around her secluded beachfront hideaway, researches her upcoming role as a solar engineer, and contemplates casual sex with one chubby guy and then another. The Pacific coast setting made me realize how much Swanberg shares in common with longtime LA indie Henry Jaglom, who’s spent more than 40 years directing talky relationship dramas and flying below the radar. In Swanberg’s case, however, the over-earnest dialogue and meandering story intersect, fatally, with the unchecked narcissism of the Facebook age; the smart-phone mania he satirized in his early feature LOL (2006) has become par for the course now, with the heroine and various house guests endlessly snapping pictures of themselves and each other. Their repartee is so boring that when the actress meets with a scientist to quiz him about solar-energy technology, his informational spiel instantly becomes the best part of the movie.